Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Red Phone Rings... and Obama has no answer

The red phone rang at 3 a.m. in the White House, just as Hillary said it would, and nobody was home. Or maybe President Obama did answer when the brown stuff hit the fan in Iran. Then muttered "WTF?" and hung up and rolled over the went back to sleep. That deafening silence we've heard from the White House about the stolen election in Iran is rookie Obama repeating "WTF?!"

As Victor Davis Hanson notes, Obama answered the phone and said "I vote present."

But Wesley Pruden says there's a possibility something good may come from this SHTF incident.

Silver linings are deceptive and often hard to find, but that might be a tiny sliver of silver in that dark cloudbank over Iran. Barack Obama got notice from the election results that his tongue, golden and honeyed though it may be, is no match for reality.

If Iranian voters had thrown Mahmoud Ahmadinejad into the street, the American president would have assumed that he was the One who did it, and the American press would have led the hosannas for the messiah from the south side of Chicago. Just a few more speeches, a few more respectful bows toward Mecca, and all the rough places would be made smooth and plain. But now even Mr. Obama must wake up and smell the tear gas.

The prospect that a victory by the Iranian moderates would cure what's wrong in the Middle East was a hookah dream from the start, a tale of the Arabian night indulged by those unable to bear the sight, sound and responsibility posed by reality. Iran is not ruled by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but by the head ayatollah, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and his pigsty of brutal mullahs. Mr. Ahmadinejad never misses an opportunity to pay craven tribute to these unelected agents of harsh Islamic rule, always with a bending of the knee and a kiss for every outstretched holy hand.

And what did Obama finally say when he got through muttering "WTF?"
There was all but silence from the White House, where Mr. Obama said he was pleased with the "robust debate" in Iran, proving only that he's easily pleased and eager to get back to what he does best, wrapping appeasement of the enemy in the sticky warmth of mere words. The "robust debate" Mr. Obama admired featured the opposition candidate smeared as both inspired by Hitler and a creature of the Jews, with skeptical newspapers shut down and Internet sites closed. Foreign observers were forbidden to watch and listen to the "robust debate." Given that nobody voted secretly - voters are easily identified and the naughty ones often punished - the 33 percent who voted for the opposition were brave, indeed.
"Robust debate" indeed. Sorta like the robust debate that occurred on Tiananmen Square, complete with blood, guts and tears and dead protesters in the streets of Iran. The international incidents have already come in bunches, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan and more and so far all we've heard from the White House is the same old "blah, blah, blah... I'm the greatest."

Pruden says maybe this will be the wakeup call that transforms the rookie into a real president.

But Mr. Obama will have to do better than admire "robust debate" and hope that once the evildoers hear the sound of his voice they will straighten up and fly right. Iranians, like everybody else, have a right to elect whomever they want, and even to steal elections without outside interference. The reality that President Obama must deal with goes beyond whether the election was free and fair. The mullahs who guide the hand of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have made it abundantly clear that they have an agenda, and intend to enforce it with the clenched fist Mr. Obama imagines he can unclench with a teleprompter.

Some people in the West - particularly in Washington - are tempted to dismiss the Iranian president as a clown and a fool, given to writing checks ("Israel must be wiped off the map") he could never cash. But these skeptics are the fools. President Obama must now rise to the occasion to deal with Iran as it is, and not as he wishes it to be. This is the job he said he wanted.

Right now, I suspect Obama is saying the same thing Bill Clinton did when he got elected. He said he felt like a dog who chased a car and caught it and then asked himself, "What do I do now?"

I suspect what's happening in Iran is the mullahs are stuck in the 14th century and had no idea that in the age of youtube and the Internet, you can't completely muffle your own people. Perhaps Obama will turn on the TV in the White House and "smell the teargas" as Pruden said.

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